Acting: The First Six Lessons
In his beloved classic, Acting: The First Six Lessons, master acting teacher Richard Boleslavsky presents his acting theory and technique in a lively and accessible narrative form. Widely considered a must-have for beginning as well as established actors, Boleslavsky's work has long helped actors better understand the craft of acting and what it takes to grow as an artist. This enhanced edition includes additional exercises from Samuel Seldon's First Steps in Acting, which provide further opportunity to practice the techniques discussed in Acting: The First Six Lessons.
Richard Boleslavsky's knowledge of the theater was based on an impressive depth and breadth of experience. A member of the Moscow Art Theater and director of its First Studio, he worked in Russia, Germany, and America as an actor, director and teacher. He was a leading Hollywood director in addition to producing plays and musical comedies on Broadway.
FOURTH LESSON •••••• (Horror lashes her; despair makes her sob from the depths of her soul, as if all her being wailed, Oh, what have I done? Then a prayer to the Only One who can help now.) “O, help him, you sweet heavens!” •••••• “O heavenly powers, restore him!” •••••• (But heaven and earth are silent. The only thunder is the voice of one whom she trusted and loved. The words behind that voice are like stinging scorpions. Not a sign of understanding in them, not a sign of tenderness—not a
and, last, a visual memory. THE CREATURE: But I have never heard of all those. I: Yet they are almost as simple as “cursing the heavens”. The development of faith in imagination; the development of the imagination itself; the development of naiveté; the development of observation; the development of will power; the development of the capacity to give 14 THE FIRST LESSON variety in the expression of emotion; the development of the sense of humor and the tragic sense. Nor is this all. THE
life. (I get up, the Creature looks at me with sorrowful eyes. I understand what these eyes express.) THE SECOND LESSON MEMORY OF EMOTION You remember the lovely creature who came to me a year ago, and “simply loved the theatre”? She came back this winter. She entered the room quietly and with grace, smiling, her face aglow. THE CREATURE: Hello! (Her handclasp was firm and strong; her eyes looked straight into mine; her figure was well balanced and controlled; what a difference!) I: How do you
of them. That is why there is so little in print really to explain the actor to himself and to his fellows. Talma, Fanny Kemble, Coquelin and, among the moderns, Louis Calvert and Stanislavsky stand out as actors who have tried to interpret acting. But Stanislavsky’s fine contribution is welded into the text of his autobiography, My Life in Art, and all the rest are, generally speaking, an effort to create a philosophy of acting rather than to analyze the elements of the art of acting or to
charming grotesque actors on the stage is Ed Wynn. Can you see where he began his trick of putting a windshield with a wiper before his eyes when he started to eat a grapefruit? Can’t 32 THE SECOND LESSON you see how he watched the mud and the water as he drove along in his car, protected by the real windshield, watched it with perfect satisfaction, feeling safe? Then, once at luncheon, perhaps, he got an eyeful of grapefruit juice. He associated the two ideas, and the result—a charming